Setting Up a Server… In 50 Easy Steps

I spent a good deal last Saturday setting up my personal webserver, the one which was hosting this website dutifully for over 2 years before I started using Adelphia Cable internet with its drachonian EULA. I was setting up the server for professional and personal reasons, I really enjoy putting together computers and customizing them perfectly - from the hardware to the software. While I hadn’t booted the computer up since sometime last year when I finally gave up trying to host anything with Adelphia I was sure there would be no problems with it. Sure it enough, I was right. But it wasn’t going to be that easy. Sure it was running perfectly fine allowing me to connect to the http and ssh servers, but working solely on ssh is not very fun: I need a graphical interface. There were also a couple of other things I need to set up:

  1. Set up the VNC server
  2. Set up Virtual Hosts in Apache
  3. Set up a test oscommerce site

Something that I hadn’t thought about when I originally came up with my task list for today, was that the latter item was a little more involved:

  • Update Apache
  • Update MySQL
  • Update PHP
  • Make sure that the php-mysql library is installed along the way

Out of all of that, I would have to say that the easiest thing to do was to set up the VNC server. I had thought that it would have been as easy as the ssh or httpd deamons, but every time I had tried to start the service it never did. Apperantly I was missing a couple of steps. And it was funny, because one of the first links I visited was the most helpful. Apperantly, all you really have to do is edit the /etc/sysconfig/vncservers file and add server to start, setup the password for that using vncpasswd and run the following line:

localhost# service vncserver restart

Mind you, the X session that is available to you with this setup is a little minimalstic, but the Fedora team left some very helpful comments in the vnc startup script:

# exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

Uncomment these two lines and you have a fully functional GNOME desktop. Awesome! Look at the difference:

GNOME through VNC TWD Screen

And don’t forget to use UltraVNC to connect to your new VNC server.

Once I could actually work on the ‘NIX box I got to work. The next thing on the list was Virtual Hosts; so I googled it. Boy, was I surprised to find that Dave Shea had actually gotten his hands dirty on this sort of thing. Well, not really surprised, but rather surprised he had made an article for it. Unfortunately, I found his article not deep enough. He, and some other people, didn’t go very into depth about what would happen to the default host if you wanted to set up Virtual Hosts on the single IP you have. For that I had to head to a closer source: Apache. Their documentation onName-based Virtual Host Support was both easy to understand, though I guess not easy enough for the “dummies” and went enough into depth about issues like the default host and virtual hosts on one IP. It was simple enough, the default host dissapears.

To be continued…

March 6, 2006 11:42 PM Development


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